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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

News: Housing Starts

Gauges the change in the number of new houses built in the United States. Housing Starts are one of the earliest indicators of the housing market, only trailing Building Permits in timeliness.

Because high outlays are needed to start construction projects, an increase in Housing Starts implies an increase in investment and business optimism. Finally, the Housing Starts figure gives insight into consumer activity, since new home purchases typically require a large investment for consumers. Given such connections to consumer and corporate sentiment, real estate generally leads economic developments. A sharp drop in new home construction is a warning signal of economic slowdown. Conversely, a rebound in the Housing Starts paves the way for economic recovery.
Housing Starts data is differentiated by building types (single family houses, 2 to 4 residence units and 5 or more residence units). The single family housing starts is a more reliable economic indicator than multi family housing starts, as single family house building is driven by demand and consumer confidence, whereas multi family house building is more often motivated by speculative real estate investors. The report headline is expressed in volume of houses built. The figures are in the thousands of units.
Relevance: Tends to move markets on release
Release schedule : 8:30 AM (EST); monthly, two or three weeks after the reporting month
Source of report : U.S. Census Bureau
Web Address : www.census.gov
Address of release : www.census.gov/const/www/newresconstindex.html

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